Murder victim Shane Geoghegan honoured ‘Terracotta Army’
MORE than 20,000 clay figurines went on display in Limerick last night to mark the third anniversary of the murder of Shane Geoghegan.
Small and perhaps a little rough aroudn the edges, but beautiful and moving nonetheless.
It's our own, miniature, Terracotta Army.
Every piece was individually made by a different person over the past 10 months.
The 'designers' include Taoiseach Enda Kenny, rugby players such as Ronan O'Gara and Paul O'Connell, Senator David Norris and comedian Pat Shortt as well as celebrated ceramists, tourists, thousands of school children and members of the public.
The Garryowen rugby player was shot dead in a case of mistaken identity near his home in Limerick on November 9, 2008.
Mr Geoghegan's aunt Margaret Walsh said the display was an attempt to provide a fitting tribute for her nephew, and for all innocent victims of violence.
Mr Geoghegan's mother, Mary, quietly admired a piece made by her other son Anthony, entitled 'Front Row' which features the two brothers and their cousin Garret Walsh.
"It is a very, very hard day for us -- this is a distraction. It is a sad day.
"The loss of Shane has left a very large void in the lives of the people who loved him. I can just see him smiling at us -- that is the way he was. I'm sure he gives this his approval," Ms Walsh said.
Ms Walsh said the inspiration for the 20,000 clay pieces came from the discovery of the third century Terracotta Army in China, which consists of thousands of large clay figures.
Entitled 'A Pitch for Shane', it had been initially hoped to make 10,000 pieces before the third anniversary.
However, the Geoghegan family said they were overwhelmed with the response and the 20,000 pieces are on display in Limerick's City Hall until Christmas.
It took seven days to lay out the impressive 90ft exhibition and yesterday's unveiling was an emotional occasion for the Geoghegan family.
The third anniversary of his death is poignant for the family because he wore the number 3 jersey while playing with Garryowen's third team.
It is undecided where the exhibition will be permanently kept, but the Geoghegan family hope a portion of it will go on display in Limerick -- possibly at Thomond Park stadium.